Shipwrecked, Thai style
June 30, 2015
We arrived on Koh Phangan after another interesting boat journey and tried to take control of a not so great situation in which we found ourselves staying in a really strange hostel in an even stranger area, so we organized a trip with Safari Boatt around the island for the following morning. We were picked up by Tiger, the biggest legend we’ve met to far on our travels. We could understand about 50% of what he was saying and he was absolutely crazy. First he brought us on a hike up a mountain, then to a waterfall followed by some tree climbing and archery before a traditional Thai lunch. After all that we headed to a beach on the north of the island where we were given snorkels and an hour to explore. This is when we had our first encounter with sea slugs, yuck!
To finish the day Tiger brought us back to the pier and sorted us out with kayaks, oars and life jackets. We all paired up so I ended up with an English lad who did most of the rowing while I took pictures and tried to figure out how Maxi and Grainne managed to get so far ahead of the group that I couldn’t even see them anymore. We made our way out peacefully to a little island off Koh Phangan which is completely untouched, it was amazing! When all the kayaks were pulled up on the shore I realized that Maxi and Grainne were actually nowhere to be seen. In an attempt to stay calm I casually informed Tiger and the rest of the group that we lost 2 people. No one would be believe me. After a good 5 minutes of convincing everyone that I did not travel to Thailand alone and that we actually had lost 2 people, we identified a tiny speck in the distance as their kayak but with no people on it. Panic started to kick in and Tiger left us, rowing back towards the mainland at a ridiculously high speed.
It turns out Maxi and Grainne’s kayak had a large hole in it and after a few minutes of rowing it became nothing more than a large plastic container of water, barely floating and unable to hold either of them. By the time they realized what was going on, we were too far ahead and couldn’t hear them screaming for help. When Tiger reached them they had abandoned ship and were attempting to swim to the island as they thought it looked a little closer than the mainland.
As Tiger rescued them and towed the useless kayak back to the island, the rest of us all became great friends while bonding over our mutual shock at the lack of safety in Thailand. Tiger arrived back and pulled an iPad out of no where, put on some music and had a smoke while ringing his friend on Koh Phangan and organized for someone to bring out a new kayak. About ten minutes later someone in the group noticed that the rogue kayak had gone back out to sea and Tiger was off again. Meanwhile we learned that the island did not support life and that a resort was meant to have been built on it but plans were abandoned because no animals could live on it, and wild dogs that were on the island would die because of the strange frequency. Cats and dogs were sent out to the island to test this before plans went ahead with the resort and apparently they all died, bleeding from their ears.
Tiger came back and confirmed that the story was true and thought it would be funny to elaborate on it, saying the island was like the perfect location for a horror movie and that strange monsters lived in the depths of the lagoon. He then looked at me and said “funny girl always dies first”.
Darkness started to fall, we were already over an hour behind schedule and Tiger’s friend was no where to be seen so myself and my new friend Kyle took Grainne on our kayak and we made a painfully slow and unstable journey back to Koh Phangan. By the time we made it back, we had so much water in our kayak that we were basically swimming and were nearly knocked off multiple times due to the ferries that kept coming up behind us and creating waves.
Thirty minutes later Maxi and Tiger washed up on another wave, just as we were really starting to consider finding out if there was a coast card on the island. In the end, we actually really loved Koh Phangan and the crazy islanders, despite the fact that I momentarily thought I’d be traveling alone for the next few weeks. Next stop, Phuket!